BC’s LNG tax breaks and subsidies offside with the need for climate action

May 9, 2019
The BC government’s new fiscal framework for LNG is fundamentally at odds with the province’s CleanBC climate plan. Details in the government agreement with LNG Canada show that BC is subsidizing fossil fuel production at a time when we need to keep it in the ground. The BC government made four major concessions in the… View Article

Reality check: High BC gas prices and pipeline rhetoric from Alberta’s new premier

May 7, 2019
Alberta’s new premier, Jason Kenney, has wasted no time engaging in belligerent actions to “get Alberta’s resources to market.” Right off the bat he passed the “turn off the taps” bill to cut off BC’s supply of oil if the Province doesn’t reverse its stance opposing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX). He also claimed… View Article

BC Labour Code amendments: A foundation to strengthen worker rights?

May 6, 2019
The first comprehensive review of BC’s Labour Code in over a quarter of a century has resulted in changes to the law to strengthen protections and collective bargaining rights for workers. In addition to requiring a review of the Code every five years, the changes will: Strengthen successorship rights for workers in identified industries that are… View Article

Canada’s Climate Conundrum: Government oil and gas production policies will doom emission reduction targets

May 2, 2019
In 2015 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proclaimed in Paris that “Canada is back!” and committed to a 30 per cent emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2030. So how is that going? According to Canada’s most-recent submission to the UN, emissions were down a mere two per cent from 2005 levels as of 2017. If… View Article

Memo to northeast BC: More fracking earthquakes ahead

Apr 30, 2019
Of the many “unknowns” flagged in a recent science panel report, few are as disturbing as the finding that no one can say how destructive an earthquake may one day be triggered during brute-force oil and gas industry fracking operations. The panel’s report—commissioned by Michelle Mungall, BC’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources—has landed… View Article

Turn off the taps? Alberta already has Vancouver over a barrel

Apr 29, 2019
Drivers in Metro Vancouver are reeling from record high gas prices, and many commentators are blaming taxes. Now, Alberta’s Premier-elect Jason Kenney is threatening to “turn off the taps” to push prices even higher because, it is alleged, BC is causing them to lose billions of dollars in oil revenues by opposing the Trans Mountain… View Article

Elevating Indigenous women’s voices is critical to addressing gendered colonial violence

Apr 3, 2019
These are the voices of Indigenous women survivors documented in a powerful new report, Red women rising: Indigenous women survivors in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The comprehensive study centres the stories of Indigenous women living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The research grew out of activities around the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and was carried… View Article

Can Metro Vancouver afford more equitable access to transit for youth and low-income households?

Apr 2, 2019
In Metro Vancouver the #AllOnBoard campaign is making the case for equitable access to transit for youth and low-income households. The campaign is calling for: (1) free transit for those under age 18; and, (2) a sliding-scale pass for adults based on income. Discounting transit fares deserves to be part of a poverty reduction plan,… View Article

Deferred prosecution agreements or avoid jail and pay a fine

Apr 1, 2019
Deferred prosecution agreements—or DPAs—are much in the news these days thanks to now former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould’s momentous resignation from the federal cabinet. DPAs are a corporate get-out-of-jail-free card or, more precisely, an avoid-jail-and-pay-a-fine-instead card. They became a reality in Canada last year after being slipped into a 500-page federal omnibus budget bill and… View Article

A burning issue: As greenhouse gas emissions from forest fires grow, Ottawa has role to play in restoration

Mar 27, 2019
As one of the largest and the most extensively forested countries in the world, Canada faces unique challenges in tackling climate change. Wildfires are burning more forests than ever as temperature and precipitation patterns change. In the process, millions of tonnes of carbon are released, pushing global greenhouse gas emissions higher. As a signatory to… View Article

Reality check: Only BC’s very richest paying higher tax rate

Mar 25, 2019
Under personal tax changes announced by the BC government over the past year and a half—including elimination of Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums—the vast majority of households are seeing their tax bills fall, while the richest 1% are paying more. This is good news for tax fairness in BC. In a fair system, we pay… View Article

Shaking the Peace: Fracking-induced earthquakes rattle BC Hydro execs and farmers alike

Mar 21, 2019
BC Hydro officials were so alarmed by an earthquake that shook the ground at its sprawling Site C dam construction project in late November, they ordered a halt to all work and got on the phone to British Columbia’s Oil and Gas Commission (OCG). The 4.5 magnitude earthquake was linked to natural gas company fracking… View Article

BC’s first-ever poverty reduction strategy: An important step forward, but does it go far enough?

Mar 19, 2019
After ten years of community calls for action, BC has at long last joined the ranks of provinces with a comprehensive poverty reduction plan. BC’s new strategy, TogetherBC, was unveiled yesterday. It sets out a framework to achieve the government’s legislated targets to reduce child poverty by at least 50 per cent and overall poverty… View Article

The importance of community health centres in BC’s primary care reforms: What the research tells us

Mar 1, 2019
Community health centres (CHCs) have been an effective but under-valued model for delivering primary health care1 for decades in Canada and the US. One of the unique features of the model is its strong focus on the social determinants of health and preventing acute illness among groups who are more likely to experience poor health and suffer from chronic conditions, including… View Article

Inside job: How BC Hydro customers wound up bankrolling private power companies

Feb 27, 2019
The chickens have finally come home to roost on the previous BC government’s private power giveaway. The just-released provincial report by Ken Davidson on the costs of BC Hydro’s power purchases is a damning indictment of its electricity policies—policies whose exorbitant and wholly unnecessary costs will saddle BC ratepayers with an enormous financial burden for… View Article

How clean is a BC that subsidizes accelerated fossil fuel extraction?

Feb 25, 2019
When the provincial government unveiled its new climate plan late last year, Environment Minister George Heyman, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver and Premier John Horgan presented a happy, united front as ceremonies got underway at Vancouver’s main library. But the biggest smiles of the day may have been on the faces of senior executives at… View Article

Goin’ slow: BC Budget fails to make meaningful investments in climate action

Feb 22, 2019
The BC government’s new climate plan, CleanBC, was released in December 2018 to great fanfare. The plan, as we noted back then, is progress after many years of stalling and pretend climate leadership, but is still a work in progress. The government’s widely repeated claim that CleanBC gets 75% of the way to BC’s 2030 GHG… View Article

False advertising by the Alberta government and oil lobby

Feb 20, 2019
As an Alberta-born and -raised earth scientist who has made a career studying fossil fuels and energy issues, I am dismayed at the bombardment of ‘fake news’ in print, online and TV ads from the Alberta government on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX). These ads are repeated hourly on several TV stations. One ad… View Article

Nine things to know about BC Budget 2019

Feb 19, 2019
BC Budget 2019 delivers modest new investments in two key areas—poverty reduction and climate action—and maintains momentum on other files that implement the ambitious investments announced last year. Here are our highlights, fresh from the lockup. 1.   New BC Child Opportunity Benefit The flagship announcement of BC Budget 2019—and likely of the upcoming first-ever BC… View Article

Carbon pricing: Prospects and protests

Feb 11, 2019
The federal government’s plan to put a price on carbon is set to be a top issue heading into October’s federal election. The carbon pricing backstop—which lets provinces and territories implement their own plans but imposes a minimum carbon tax on those who do not—has drawn the ire of provincial governments in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan… View Article